This year’s 12th annual Marcia Walters Memorial Thanksgiving Trot broke new ground.
It was the first time the event was managed by co-chairs Niki Thompson and Whitney Harris. And, once again, a record amount of money was raised.
This year’s event raised $126,000 to benefit the family of Jared Chasteen, who has undergone multiple surgeries and chemotherapy to fight cancer.
More than 1,800 runners registered for the combined 1-mile and 5-k race that started and ended in front of Tim Buchanan Stadium at Aledo High School. There were so many runners and walkers it took more than four minutes to clear the starting line once the race began.
The Trot is a unique event in that all expenses are covered by sponsors, all work is done by volunteers, and all proceeds from registrations go to the recipient.
Once the runners completed the race, it was announced that Aledo High School junior Jack Fink won the men’s division with a time of 15:29. Women’s 5K winner Rebecca Lugo clocked her time at 20.26.
Before the check presentation, Thompson announced a new initiative honoring The Community News.
“The Community News has been with us from day one,” Thompson said. “They care about all causes within our community, but they are especially close to our hearts with the Trot.”
The new initiative creates an annual scholarship to an Aledo High School journalism student named the “Spirit of the Trot - Keck and Schmid” award in honor of Randy Keck and Loydale Schmid.
Thompson then thanked the board, including her mother, race-founder Rhonda Torres.
“She pulled us all together for the first year, which many of you were there, and it just bloomed into the most beautiful annual event,” Thompson said. “Thank you so much to this committee.”
The main event was the presentation of the check facsimile to Jared Chasteen, who was honored by the outpouring of support from the community.
“This is by far the most humbling and unique experiences anybody could ever have,” Chasteen said. “My family and me, we certainly didn't expect this or ask for it. So thank everybody that came all the people who didn't come. Thanks to all these parents who are showing their kids that it's good to donate your time and help other people. Because everybody needs help at some point in their life. So thanks, everybody, for helping other people.”
Chasteen then pointed out the motivation he received from Emma Vidal, 2019 recipient of the Trot as a 10-year-old with leukemia.
“It was really cool to see somebody who had been here and been a past recipient. So Emma gave me a lot of inspiration. Thank you, Emma,” Chasteen said. “And so to all these wonderful people who volunteer their time. It’s a humbling deal that to look out and see this many people that care about you and also the most humbling is that there's more people here that I don't know that I do know, and that shows something good about the way people are. Don't get caught up in watching the news and hearing how bad everything is all the time because this is proof how good people are and how good the world is.”
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